Skip to main content

Using PowerPoint


This guide introduces some general principles to help you make effective use of PowerPoint to support your presentations. It does not cover the technical aspects of using the software. If you have experience of using other Microsoft Office programs such as Word, you may find PowerPoint easy to use.

What is PowerPoint?

PowerPoint is a computer program that allows you to create and show slides to support a presentation. You can combine text, graphics and multi-media content to create professional presentations. As a presentation tool PowerPoint can be used to:

  • organise and structure your presentation;
  • create a professional and consistent format;
  • provide an illustrative backdrop for the content of your presentation;
  • animate your slides to give them greater visual impact.

PowerPoint has become enormously popular and you are likely to have seen it used by your lecturers and fellow students or in a presentation outside of the University. Learning to present with PowerPoint will increase your employability as it is the world's most popular presentational software. Used well, PowerPoint can improve the clarity of your presentations and help you to illustrate your message and engage your audience. The strategies contained in this study guide will help you to use PowerPoint effectively in any type of presentation.

Before you begin

Not all presentations require support from PowerPoint so you should consider whether it is appropriate for your presentation. This decision will need to take into account the venue of your presentation, the availability of equipment, the time available and the expectations of the audience. Whether you choose to use PowerPoint or not, your presentation will need to be carefully planned and structured in order to achieve your objectives.